Struggling To Keep Up With Awe – Advent With Me (4)

Copyright Harriet Long 2012

Copyright Harriet Long 2012

I can’t keep up. 

I’ve taken some time out from bad habits, I’ve cut down on some wasted time in order to gain more.  I’ve noticed more, I’ve breathed in more, I’ve been and felt more connected, but right now? I can’t keep up.

There’s a lot of doing to be done, there’s a lot of reading, comment, and critique to take on board.  There’s some joys and some mourning, there’s working and sleeping that’s needed, health and people to be cared for and pleasure being craved.

I’ve never noticed or enjoyed an advent season more.  I’ve never been as dismayed and perplexed during this season before.

I’ve taken time to think about waiting, and I’ve taken time to think about myself, body, place in this world, a speck, a mere speck, making a pitiful squeaking, bleating contribution here.

But I’ve had some time to watch waves on the ocean, wipe fondant from a four year old’s chin, hear carols in different languages and place sweets in the shape of an L for my friend’s birthday – and despite my tininess I’ve felt awe – whether it’s constructed, created, invoked or expressed it’s an emotion, moment, sense of something that I find to be right, worthwhile, myself – despite not keeping up.

In the spirit of sharing my reading and exercise here are some inspirations and considerations for advent this evening:

Anne Lamott – who saved my life a little bit this summer:

We are lighthouses of sacred love, and we are a violent species…Advent is not for the naïve. Because in spite of the dark and cold, we see light—you look up, or you make light, with candles, trees. And you give light. Beauty helps, in art and nature and faces. Friends help. Solidarity helps. If you ask me, when people return phone calls, it’s about as good as it gets. And who knows beyond that. – Some Assembly Required & 15 December 2012

Rachel Held Evans – getting frustrated with some theorizing and theologizing about suffering in the USA that has been articulated this week:

If the incarnation teaches us anything, it’s that God can be found everywhere: in a cattle trough, on a throne, among the poor, with the sick, on a donkey, in a fishing boat, with the junkie, with the prostitute, with the hypocrite, with the forgotten, in places of power, in places of oppression, in poverty, in wealth, where God’s name is known, where it is unknown, with our friends, with our enemies, in our convictions, in our doubts, in life, in death, at the table, on the cross, and in every kindergarten classroom from Sandy Hook to Shanghai…

And although my doubt and anger make it hard for me to believe today, I will keep lighting those little Advent candles like a religious fool until they help me in my unbelief. May their flames be a reminder to all of us that we don’t have to know why God let this happen to know that God was there…. –17 December 2012

Here in Belfast, Northern Ireland we have had riots and protests all week; we’ve had two vigils one with prayer, one with whistles – both criticised for bearing a middle-class, comfortable, educated perspective.  We here in the West, with our plenty, our comfort, our water and warmth have things to grieve, to ponder and query.  Where we can grade and rate the nobility and validity of protest, write reams about a massacre in the USA and yet be paralysed by and with the knowledge of the murders and death that reek of our tax funds, the bodies piled high violated and discarded around the world with little media coverage or sombre social media vigils or mood.

Death is dark, darkness is chilling, it’s real and all around us, grief & trauma, second of every second in every life and heart beating.  I feel provoked to exercise a little more conscience and a little more perspective , a little more humility about the breadth and size of our humanity – and our divinity…and this also, is awe…

Emmanuel – God With Us


Keep tweeting, blogging and sharing your #adventwithme experiences.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bodies & Beauty, Culture, Justice, Talk About God: Theology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s